PUTRAJAYA, May 3  — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is in talks with the Defence Ministry on the setting up of field hospitals in Kelantan and Sarawak, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

He said there was a need to set up the field hospitals to accommodate non-COVID-19 related cases so that the burden of the hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients could be reduced.

“Until now, we find there is a need to set up field hospitals,  like in Tawau and Kelantan … so discussions are in progress so that the Defence Ministry can build them.

“The existing hospitals, especially their critical and intensive care unit wards can be used or focused on dealing with the increase in COVID-19 cases,” he told a press conference held jointly with the Coordinating Minister of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, Khairy Jamaluddin, here today.

On the mobilisation of additional  personnel to deal with  COVID-19, Dr Adham said some 8,000 personnel from other ministries had been mobilised since last Jan 11 to assist the Health Ministry.

He said the latest involved a total of 800 personnel who were deployed to Sarawak and Kelantan.

“In Kelantan, staff from the dental department are deployed, apart from trainees and staff from the MOH Training Institute who are also experts in managing COVID-19 cases in critical wards and ICUs.

“Apart from that, MOH has obtained approval to have 11,000 more staff in all disciplines in the ministry,” he added.

On the first case of the COVID-19 variant originating from India, with a double mutation known as B.1.617.1, detected in the country, Dr Adham said the case was detected following screening of an Indian national at an international gateway last April 24.

“The Indian national  came to our country before we decided to close the entry of flights from that country (India) …as for the Indian national,  he has been quarantined for 14 days and we are monitoring the situation,” he added.

He said to date a total of 48 cases of South African variant B.1.351 had been in the country,  UK B.1.1.7 (eight cases) and Nigerian B.1.525 (two cases).

Meanwhile, he said inter-state travel would not be allowed until May 17and that 13 inter-state clusters had been detected since last April.


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